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BOOKED @ Muse: Ayob Vania

Ayob Vania Ayob Vania Ayob Vania Ayob Vania

For nearly a decade Ayob Vania has been intimately involved with the poetry/performance poetry scene in Johannesburg. He has worn many different hats – from event organizer to artist manager, promoter to administrator, and publisher to actor – which reflect his many talents.

One of the most significant moments in Ayobs’ career was working with a theatrical poetry production called “The Streets Have Lips” together with a collective named Seven – young male writers/poets wishing to express their experiences and comment on the issues men deal with by combining the art of poetry with theatre performance.

Aside from writing and performing over the past five years Ayob Vania has earned a reputation as a Poetry/cReative wRiting Workshop Facilitator. In this role he has been involved with the British Councils’ Power in the Voice (PiV) program, which aimed to teach urban youth the art of expression through the spoken word, including Performed Poetry, Rap and Storytelling.

Ayob is currently the facilitator of the Afro Alphabets cReative wRiting Workshops which take place at the University of Johannesburg and is aimed at aspirant writers on campus. Ayob is an avid blogger and devoted twitterer, and is experimenting with different platforms to showcase and write his poetry. Visit:

He is in the process of putting together his debut collection of poetry which should be released early next year. Muse @ BOOK SA caught up with Ayob on his meantime:

What are you currently reading?

I am constantly reading anything between two and four different books, excluding magazines and newspapers. Currently I am totally immersed in Don Mattera’s seminal collection of poetry Azanian Love Song, a truly profound collection of poems years ahead of it’s time.

I have recently also been taken in by the writings of Zoe Wicomb, particularly her latest collection of short stories, The One That Got Away. I am also reading Wikinomics and I cant’s seem to get enough of the plethora of new literary journals that have been mushrooming all over the place, from Wordsetc and Baobab to Miyela, these journals are reinforcing what we do as writers and ensure that we have a platform to showcase our art/heart…

What are you absolutely loving in the meantime?

I am loving being married to the love of my life and sharing every aspect of me with someone I can trust with access to my most vulnerable parts.
I am also loving the act and journey of discovering self – At 30 discovering self is completely different from discovering self at the age of 18, 21, 24, 25 or even 27 – all major, life changing milestones in my journey of self discovery. At thirty one is brutally honest with yourself about who you really are and that is reflected in my writing.

What are you learning/changing within mother earth?

Everyday I am exposed to more and more of the ART at the heart of the earth, and it is the most beautiful fixation I have ever had. In retrospect it is the only fixation I have ever had and it grows with intensity the more I engage with it. The beauty of mother earth lies at the core of who we are (individually), and until we realize that we are the sum total of all our past experiences we will forever be blind to the true beauty the earth has to offer!


self sacrifice

i am a peacock
i am a humming bird
i am a nightingale
i am a caged bird…
from an early age my talents have been coveted and nurtured
and now, at the extremity of my spring
the craft that has become my life is in a downward spiral
but i will rise to the occasion and stand tall…
…like i always have
i stand tall and display our glory
i sing our story
i sing alto and soprano
my voice muted…
i embellish my flesh as i lay my soul bare,
whilst the sycophant secretly scuttles for safety.
i stand as the lead singer with a devoted band bravely
sustaining my efforts to recover acknowledgement
even at the evident end.
i am a caged bird…
i am a nightingale
i am a humming bird
i am a peacock

i am the song bird turned mythical creature
sacrificing myself to be society’s martyr
sticks and stones, bruised and broke the bones of my peers
but for me you chose words
to break my spirit
you have turned your backs on me
because i made it public that i like my bread buttered on both sides
… i used to love you
my voice muted…
i sing alto and soprano
i sing our story
i stand tall and display our glory
i will always love you dearly
for i am your proverbial phoenix
and from my ashes i will rise again
i am a peacock – i stand tall and display our glory
i am a humming bird – i sing our story
i am a nightingale – i sing alto and soprano
my voice muted
i am a caged bird – my voice muted…
i am a caged bird – my voice muted…
i am a caged bird – my voice muted

after midnight

in the heart of the night
whilst the world is in repose
and sleep shuns me
i play…
leering through the seams
of this nocturnal occurrence
i am witness to a different realm as
i play write…
my soul dances to this nightly purgatory
channelling visions to those lost in slumber
i playwright dreams.

all poems by ayob vania ©


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